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DA Declines To Prosecute Crown Heights Woman Who Police Say Made Bogus Pre-Carnival Complaints

Kathleen Reilly outside of a Despers rehearsal on Saturday night.
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Kathleen Reilly outside of a Despers rehearsal on Saturday night. Scott Heins / Gothamist

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office has declined to pursue charges against Kathleen Reilly, a Crown Heights woman who was arrested Wednesday night while filming patrons with her iPad outside of Pacific Gardens, a Trinidadian venue on Pacific Street.

Initial charges against her included obstructing governmental administration, two counts of false reporting an incident, disorderly conduct, and harassment, according to the NYPD.

A law enforcement source told Gothamist simply that the DA declined to prosecute, and declined to answer further questions.

Locals say Reilly, 63, has spent the summer surveilling practice and preparation for this weekend's J'ouvert and other West Indian American Day Carnival activities, curtailing practice time for Despers USA, a Trinidadian steel orchestra that rents a lot across from Pacific Gardens; making patrons uncomfortable; and frequently calling 911. Wednesday marked her first arrest in the State of New York.

Reilly, who lives a few blocks from the venues on Bergen Street, also frequently monitors Berg'n, a food hall and event space on her street near Franklin Avenue.

On Wednesday night she "disregarded orders to stop harassing individuals, also called 911 making a false claim of a large disorderly group at the location which obviously forced the officers to respond to the scene, possibly putting officers and others in danger," an NYPD spokesperson said. "Obviously there was no emergency that existed at that location."

Reilly did not immediately respond to a phone call or email Friday morning.

"It sounds like the same song," she said in a recent phone interview, referring to the Despers rehearsals. "It's extremely loud, and it's not what I want to sit in my house and listen to."

"I like to do photography, so I just photograph whatever is going on in my neighborhood," she added. "I do it for my personal use. I never know what I photograph until I get home, but sometimes I see something that's strange, I just send it to the authorities."

Monical Gill, who witnessed the arrest, is a member of Pagwah Mas, one of the largest mas (short for "masquerade") bands in J'ouvert. Pagwah hosts events and registers participants at Pacific Gardens.

"We were celebrating because she's been harassing us for years," Gill told Gothamist on Thursday. "There were about 25 police officers. They made up their mind that they were tired. As soon as they walked up to her she started ranting."

"She was saying she'd been here for eight years," Gill recalled. "But this is our culture—we've been doing this for fifty."

We've reached out to the owner of Pacific Gardens and will update if we hear back.

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